Broadband access for all in Francestown? Find out more about HB238
Here’s a message from your NH House (District 4) Representative Carol Roberts:
What is the status of the broadband access issue?
A broadband study bill (HB 238) was passed in June, 2017. In September it was signed by the Governor and a study committee was formed, members were appointed. Committee members from the House: Representatives Richard Barry, Representative Michael Vose, and Representative Carol Roberts. From the Senate: Senator Ruth Ward. The first meeting was held in November 2017. Documents presented at the meetings may be viewed at:
The study bill hypothesized that actionable steps such as exploring opportunities for public/private partnership such as municipal bonding; for-profit companies, and the possibilities of changes needed to establish a governmental structure could be examined along with the traditional methods of doing business. HB 238 is a means to inform the state and towns on options for delivering broadband in rural areas and to suggest pathways to success.
Truly reliable, accessible, and predictable access to high speed internet would serve all the population including the underserved and the unserved in our state.
The Study Committee has held three meetings and will meet again on March 9th at the Legislative Office Building. Here is the meeting notice. All meetings are open to the public but not all meetings will be set up to take public input:
Meeting 4 – Broadband Study Committee (HB238) March 9, 2018 10am – 12noon
Legislative Office Building Rm 304/305
The agenda will flow from talking about the Coop Model and NHEC Projects/Smart Meter/Fiber, then Funding Resources (whether they are accessible and applicable to Broadband Expansion), then legal opinion about bonding for infrastructure current statute and implications of SB170 in the legislature now, then NH Bond Bank and how it would work if communities bond for infrastructure projects (viable or not).
My personal thoughts: There is much work to be done. One desirable outcome is to produce enabling legislation to further open and equal access to everyone. It is not acceptable that some of our citizens are underserved or worse, totally unserved. The internet is a right not a privilege and access should be as available as electricity. No company should be able to dictate which districts get served based on money or population.
Carol R. Roberts, Representative
District 4 ~ Hillsborough County, NH